During Colombia’s 2016 peace agreement referendum and its 2018 election, misinformation and disinformation circulated widely. As the country’s 2019 elections approached, Dora Montero, president of Consejo de Redacción (Editorial Board)—an association that promoted investigative journalism and operated an online fact-checking program called ColombiaCheck—realized it was especially difficult to correct factual errors at the regional and local levels, and she was determined to do something about that problem. Montero and her group assembled a network of journalists who detected and countered false claims during the 2018 campaign. Montero’s team organized workshops on fact checking for local journalists; forged alliances with local and national radio, TV, and print media; and collaborated with universities and civic leaders to produce and distribute articles that presented the facts. During the 2019 campaign, the alliance, named RedCheq, produced 141 articles that clarified and corrected political statements, social media posts, photos, and videos. This case focuses on the challenges associated with improving the integrity of election-related information at the subnational level. This case is part of a series on combatting false information, including both misinformation (unintentional), disinformation (intentional), and fake news, one form of disinformation
Alexis Bernigaud drafted this case study based on interviews conducted with journalists and civic leaders in Colombia from January through May 2023. Case published July 2023.